Opportunities and challenges of 5G New Calling

28 February 2023 | Research

Caroline Gabriel

Perspective | PDF (16 pages)

"It will be important for operators to convince consumers that 5G New Calling has many advantages over OTT applications, which previous technologies lacked."


The objective of the emerging 5G New Calling is to transform the user experience of voice calls. Voice is the longest-established mobile service and remains crucial to operator business models, as well as a widening range of consumer and business applications. User expectations of the quality of mobile voice continue to rise and this drives the need for native voice services such as 5G New Calling.

With 5G New Calling a call can be carried over a 4G/5G network. The high bandwidth and low latency of a 5G network provides users with high-definition and immersive audio and video communications, compared with a 4G network. User experience is enhanced because 5G New Calling uses 3GPP defined and standardized data channels that are established by the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS). The IMS data channels enable advanced interactivity features such as rich media displays, augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), video clips, etc.

5G New Calling enhances the user experience, facilitates the adoption of new services and crucially provides unique added-value features, compared with those of over-the-top (OTT) applications which have significantly eroded mobile voice revenue. Overall, 5G New Calling provides operators with the opportunity to deliver a better user experience, and so generate additional revenue and reduce churn rate.

Pilot use cases for 5G New Calling include real-time translation, customer support, telemarketing, and remote home assistance/damage estimation/repair installation. Most recently, China Mobile Jiangsu, China Mobile Zhejiang and China Mobile Guangdong engaged customers to test out several 5G New Calling features in time for the 2023 Chinese New Year, including using a personal avatar, real-time translation, emojis and filters. Filters refer to the imposition of virtual images such as glasses on the user.

Enterprises will be a key target for the advanced communications enabled by 5G New Calling. Analysys Mason conducted surveys in 2022 related to a key use case for 5G New Calling, customer support operations. The surveys addressed 501 private and public sector organisations and 4000 consumers in four countries (France, Germany, Spain and the UK) and revealed a significant appetite for customer support services that relied on advanced multimedia communications. Key survey findings will be discussed in chapters 3.1 and 3.2. However, momentum behind 5G New Calling risks being limited due to the limited success of VoLTE (voice over LTE) and strong attractiveness of OTT applications. It will be important to convince consumers that 5G New Calling has many advantages over OTT applications, which previous technologies lacked. For example, 5G New Calling is capable of providing real-time interactions, and deploying new services and features which require high bandwidth and low latency.

5G New Calling will require a broad ecosystem to gain widespread awareness and adoption, and to develop compatible devices. To achieve wide adoption, operators need to raise customer awareness of the benefits of this service, and collaborate with vendors to accelerate the development of compatible devices. Vendors can help to boost confidence and adoption by demonstrating successful use cases with tangible revenue-generating potential to operators. Encouraging developers to participate in the ecosystem via an open application programming interface (API) will help to broaden the range of services available and to prevent fragmentation.

Opportunities and challenges of 5G New Calling

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Caroline Gabriel

Research Director, expert in network and cloud strategies and architecture